Late Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed 2014 levels for the Renewable Fuel Standard for public comment. The proposal seeks comment on various ranges of total renewable fuel volumes for 2014 and also a level within that range of 15.21-billion gallons. The proposed volume for cellulosic biofuel is 17-million gallons, 1.28-billion gallons for biomass-based diesel and 2.2-billion gallons for advanced biofuel. EPA notes renewable fuels production has grown rapidly recently – but advances in vehicle fuel economy and other economic factors have pushed gasoline consumption far lower than initially expected when Congress passed the RFS in 2007. So – EPA says the industry faces the E-10 blend wall – and if gasoline demand continues to decrease – continued growth of ethanol use will require increased usage of higher ethanol blends – including E-15 and E-85.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says biofuels are a key part of the Obama Administration’s all of the above energy strategy – and EPA continues to support the RFS goal of increasing biofuel production and use. EPA says this proposal seeks to put the RFS on a steady path forward while looking for different ways to address the blend wall. EPA also is seeking comment on petitions for an RFS waiver that would apply next year. EPA expects a determination on the substance of those petitions to be issued when it issues a final 2014 RFS rule.